It’s that time of year again—Christmas light season! There’s nothing quite like the festive appeal of a house full of decorative Christmas lights, but if you plan to decorate this year, exercise caution. Each year, faulty Christmas light installation and useage cause 20 deaths and over $25.3 million in property damages. At Harrison Electric, safety is our top priority. So, to help you protect your most valuable possessions during the holiday season, we’ve put together a few Christmas light safety tips. When it’s time to break out the decorative lights, keep these suggestions in mind:
Check for Damage Before Decorating
Over years of use and storage, your decorative lights can incur damage. Many times, lights will continue to function even with minor damage, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe to use. Unfortunately, many homeowners never notice lighting and cord damage until it’s too late, and something goes awry. Before you even think about plugging those lights into an outlet, thoroughly examine each and every cord for frayed wiring, missing bulbs, and sheath damage.
If you locate sheath damage, you can typically repair it with electrical tape, but if the damage is deep enough to reach the wire, toss that string of lights in the trash. Examine strings of lights for open sockets and cracked bulbs, and replace where necessary. Just make sure you use the appropriate bulbs since voltage differences can cause an electrical hazard. Finally, make sure you inspect extension cords for damage and replace them, if necessary.
Turn Off All Holiday Lighting Before Going to Bed
As the old adage goes—an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the case of decorative holiday lights, prevention is paramount. Before you go to bed, make sure you turn off ALL your decorative lights, both interior and exterior.
It may be tempting to leave lights on throughout the night for extra festive cheer, but this is a dangerous practice you should avoid. You can’t stop a fire if you’re sound asleep, so for your safety’s sake, don’t give a fire a chance to start. If you’re prone to forgetfulness, install a light timer that will automatically turn your lights off at a pre-programmed time.
Replace Incandescent Bulbs With Decorative LED Lights
Incandescent bulbs generate heat, but newer, energy-efficient LED bulbs stay cool—even after several hours of operation. Because they produce far less heat and use far less electricity than incandescent bulbs, LEDs reduce your risk of an electrical fire. If you’re not currently using LED lights, it’s time to make the switch. Not only will you save money on your holiday electrical bill, but you’ll also better protect your home and family.
Don’t Overload Your Outlets
The holiday season is notorious for house fires, and many times, those fires are due to overloaded outlets. It can be tempting to pack a power strip with electrical plugs, but doing so can overload your home’s wiring, which creates a dangerous situation. If you know your wiring is outdated, contact a residential electrician for an inspection before you start decorating. Your safety is on the line, so take it seriously.
Need Electrical Repair or Upgrades? Contact Harrison Electric
If you know your outdated electrical system cannot handle holiday lighting demands, it’s time to call Harrison Electric. With over 100 years of combined experience, our team is here to ensure your home’s electrical work is up to code and as safe as possible. We specialize in upgrading electrical panel wiring, rewiring, whole house surge protector installation, and more. We also offer emergency 24/7 service because we know dangerous electrical issues aren’t only isolated to normal business hours. To learn more about our services or to schedule your appointment, give us a call at 763-544-3300, or you can message us on our contact page.